Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Foggy Towns

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

fog headlands

Fellow artist-in-residence Scot Kaplan told me last night that he just learned the two foggiest land masses in the world are Point Reyes, California (a little north of where we are in The Marin Headlands) and Argentia, Newfoundland (a little south of Conception Bay where I was in mid-July). No wonder I am dreaming of fog – I’ve been ensconced for weeks and it’s in my Newfoundland blood.

I can’t wait for The Fog and The Mist – a double feature coming from Netflix.

No California Dreamin’

Monday, August 4th, 2008

studio Headlands

This is the view from my studio over the foggy hills of The Headlands. I’ve been sleeping inordinate amounts of time here, heavy as a fog, with no dreams.

Location is Everything

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

fog headlands

If I thought Newfoundland was foggy, I should have held my breath until arriving at The Marin Headlands in California. For five weeks I’ll be at The Headlands Center for the Arts, and the landscape already has my jaw dropping. The rock is softer, more crumbly than on the east coast. The Headlands is at a former military camp nestled in National Park hills dotted with crumbling bunkers and sparsely covered in fragrant flora. In less than two days I’ve seen several deer, most of which were within twenty-five feet of me, a bobcat, wild turkeys, small unidentified red birds, and today a grey-blue rotting seal which washed up on the beach when I wasn’t looking – sneaky that Death character. Poison oak is everywhere, which is the only drawback. That and the ghosts. I’ve seen plenty of the former but none of the latter, so far.

ocean headlands

The ocean is close and cold, when you can see it through the wall of fog.

field headlands

I’m probably the only artist in residence who is wishing and hoping, though not yet praying lest the others lynch me, that the fog won’t lift.

Nature Overload

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Newfoundland is stunning: sheep lined up on the narrowest footpath with a view of the ocean and co-mingling with the seagulls; urchins wiggling their green spines and baring their teeth; minke whales diving in schools of black caplin; imported moose like brown tankers waiting at the sides of roads; bald eagles overhead, puffins too fat to fly; mussels and micro-starfish as tiny as my baby finger nail – all within walking distance of our home base. Kayaking and hiking along the frigid Atlantic were highlights for these Brooklynites.

sheep

urchin

whale

rock

Newfoundlanders refer both affectionately and disparagingly to their island as “The Rock”. A tremendous force carved these rocks, jutting from the bay:

rocks

Haunted Maritimes

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Beckley and I just returned from visiting my family on the East Coast of Newfoundland. We had a restful and fun vacation, but the landscapes are stark, harsh, and magical. Horror-film worthy to say the least.

shark
Don’t go in the Water!

moon
The Howling

ship
The Mist

house
The House that Sank into the Hill

rocks
Careful where you swim, my sweet

bighouse
The House of Horrors

yellowhouse
House on the Hill

fog
The Fog

danger
The Danger

blueship
I Know What You Did Last Summer

redhouse
The Cellar

clouds
The Rocks

road
Incident at the Old Pig Farm *

*Special Thanks to Cara Kansala and Pam Dorey of Cara’s Joy who happily told me about the abandoned Pig Farm and showed me their zombie cats paintings.

I’m already half-planning the next trip: the icebergs and grey skies of Winter may be muses calling my name.

Horror Creature

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

The Big Dog – begging to star in an upcoming horror film – is the latest Frankenstein Robot of Boston Dynamics. They also brought us DI Guy, (get it?) a human simulator that includes soldiers, vehicles and “men, women, and children with a wide range of cultural appearances” for your shooting pleasure. Among their major customers are the US Armed Forces, Ford, and Boeing.

Obsolescence on my Mind

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

halifax duncan cove jillian mcdonald
halifax duncan cove jillian mcdonald

This week I was a participant in a conference titled Obsolescence and the Culture of Human Invention, organized by Halifax researchers Robert Bean and Ilan Sandler, at The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

Other participants and artists in an accompanying exhibition titled “txt” at Anna Leowens Gallery included David Clark of Halifax, Michelle Gay and Michael Maranda from Toronto, and Luke Murphy and Marcin Ramocki from NYC. California-based keynote speaker Katherine Hayles joined us at the end of the week to discuss code, language, hyperattention and deep attention, and her recent critical writing on transhumanism in science fiction. The transhumanists advocate taking any means necessary, including plastic surgery and sexual selection, to stave off death, disease, gender, undesireable characteristics, and other unpleasant human afflictions. This futurist belief system is championed in novels such as the very strange Mr. Boy.

My interest in obsolescence is in the rise of Free Culture proponents in the face of ever tightening copyright laws, and the obsolescence of past film and television viewing in favour of a more expanded digital cinema and participation-based viewing. I’ll post more on that when I get back to New York.

Although most of the conference daytime was spent indoors in near darkness watching presentations and discussing obsolescence, we took a magical field trip to chilly Duncan’s Cove where Robert cautioned us to stay clear of the ocean’s edge lest a rogue wave sneak up and claim us. Really. We found sponges, urchins, crabs, and mussels washed up along the rocks, some of which we had eaten earlier in the week.

~photos of the expedition by Michael Maranda

Iceberg Envy

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

iceberg

My dad sent me this postcard recently upon moving back to Newfoundland, the province of his childhood. I thought the image was a bluff. Apparently not. This summer we’re going to visit him there and I’m hoping the icebergs are still there, not to mention puffins, light houses, cod tongues, screech, blustery cliffs, whales, clams, fog, and other promises. Who needs the tropics – bring on the North, eh!

Dreams of the Coast

Friday, May 9th, 2008

ships

I left the west coast 2 days ago, and I already have separation anxiety. Although it’s great to be home, Vancouver is a hard place to leave. Who wouldn’t fall in love with the dreamy mist and the moist rain forest? I watched these motionless ships for hours, with my father. They seemed to multiply while I slept nearby in English Bay.

treeherons

Stanley Park’s old growth – some of the trees are 800 years old. Strangely, herons roost above the park atop more spindly trees, a mere 30 feet overhead. Parts of the city are bursting with blooming, twisting vegetation. Although we do have a weird overgrown weed-tree in our backyard, Brooklyn’s vegetation is depressingly sparse and neglected.

Spider

Monday, April 28th, 2008

There is a spider in my cup at the studio, it’s been there at least an hour. How am I supposed to drink? Is this a sign of luck? So many questions.